The new CBO report this week contained two pieces of bad news for the Affordable Care Act that the pundits have been chewing over. First, it found that two million fewer people will get ACA insurance in 2014 than previously expected. Second, it revised up the number of people who will respond to the ACA by choosing to work fewer hours. Prior to the report, the CBO suggested that only 500,000-800,000 would reduce hours or leave the job market altogether. Now it predicts 2-2.5 million will.Initially some news outlets and commentators framed this story incorrectly, suggesting that Obamacare would cause companies to cut two million jobs (see the correction at the bottom of this NYT piece). ACA supporters pushed back by pointing out that the CBO was talking about a supply-side effect—people leaving their jobs, not losing them—and praised this as evidence that Obamacare was giving people more freedom and flexibility when it comes to how much and what kind of work they do. (This tone was a bit discordant in that not so long ago people were bemoaning low labor force participation. Now people not working had suddenly become a good thing!)One problem with the ACA boosters’ argument here is that even with the subsidies and benefits provided by Obamacare it’s still better in the long term for many people to have a job. Another is that often the choice to work or not to work will be between six of one and half a dozen of the other: some people can either work less and get Obamacare subsidies or work more (augment their income) and lose those subsidies. This kind of forced choice between health care subsidies and income/employment isn’t something we should really be celebrating.The best objections we saw came from Tyler Cowen and Ross Douthat (who pivoted off of Cowen’s thoughts). Both noted that, even if you ground the argument in purely liberal principles, it’s odd to be praising lower workforce participation, given how demand-side induced unemployment typically bothers them so much.But even this misses the most crucial point: Above all else, this is a political story. Regardless of how the punditry spins it, the vast majority of people who are paying only passing attention to news about Obamacare will still read this as another story of failure. A while ago we noted that opposition to the law wasn’t likely to go away when it went into effect, because the gradual rollout would continue to churn out news that opponents would be able to latch on to. It looks like we were right.